Now all results of the first 7 rounds are in it is finally confirmed, VCC-2 did qualify for the U15 top schedule. Three more exciting matches against excellent opponents. Maybe it will be hard for our boys to win one of these matches, but it will be very interesting to see how they will compete. This weekend we have to play two matches. On Saturday the match against Sparta 1888 is scheduled and on Sunday HCC will be waiting for us. With the lustrum activities ongoing as well this makes it a super weekend for the team. The 90th anniversary celebrations are good, but nothing can compare with playing a real match!
Match day 8: Sparta 1888 – VCC-2 136 – 133
While the sun was shining we arrived at the idyllic setting of Sparta. We did win the toss (it is becoming a habit now) and started batting at the beautiful (but slow) pitch of Sparta.
Idyllic setting of Sparta
Like usual Miraj and Aadvik opened. But very unusual, Miraj lost his wicket already in the second over. Arav had to enter the pitch a bit earlier than expected. Unfortunately he was dismissed (8 runs) by a LBW in over 7. In over 10 Albert (4 runs) got bowled with only 39 runs at the scoreboard. Would we even stay below our lowest score of the season so far (72)? Aadvik had other plans. He didn’t want to surrender so easily. First helped by Philip (10 runs), then by Steve, he finally partnered with Stefan before he got out after 27 runs in over 23.
Steve waiting for his turn
Stefan continued his solid batting with Ger. Ger promised to make 12 runs and was half way (1)2 when he got bowled (2 runs). The other half 1(2) he was saving for tomorrow. Now Stefan and Jonathan had to survive the last 5 overs. But only 2 balls later Jonathan went out on a catch, leaving Stefan not out with 19 runs. Final score 133.
Score of the day – 27 runs by Aadvik
We still had a change to win. The pitch was very slow and it was hard to get a boundary. Only Stefan and Aadvik managed to hit the boundary once. Even hitting a 2 was already difficult on this pitch. Key would be to limit the number of extras: no wides, no no-balls. What our boys did not know is that our opponent hired a trainer/coach from India for 3 months. His interpretation of wide on the leg side was more strict then what they were used to. Resulting in 6 wides already in the first 2 overs . . . And it started so good. On the second ball of the inning Albert forced a LBW. He even did take his second wicket, but half way the inning Sparta had already 80 runs including 50 (!!) extras. We had to take more wickets to win the game. Then it went fast. It started with a maiden over with a wicket by Miraj, followed by a maiden over of Stefan with even 2 wickets. At the same time the number of wides did reduce drastically. Would it be still possible to turn the game? Unfortunately we could not keep the flow going and Sparta was reaching the target slowly but steadily. In over 20 they ended the match in style with the first 6 of the day!
Sparta served a delicious lunch for players and parents
Match day 9: VCC-2 – HCC 178 – 237
New day, new opportunities. Today HCC was visiting. On paper this match promised to be even more difficult than the Sparta match. HCC is full of Dutch Lions and did win all their matches. A last minute absence did leave us with only 8 players. Luckily our U17 was playing next to us and Tom was willing to help us out. This made HCC a bit nervous and a bit reluctant to let him play. After some discussion he finally was accepted to play.
This time we lost the toss and HCC started batting. They gave a master class batting (21 boundaries and 4 sixers!!) and showed why they did win all their matches so far. With one retired player and 2 players with more than 30 runs they had statistics we cannot yet achieve. But that does not mean we couldn’t make it difficult for HCC: good bowling of Jonathan resulted in an excellent catch by Tom, a maiden over of Stefan 2 wickets, a clean bowled wicket by Miraj, another catch, this time by Stefan after good bowling of Philip and finally another bowled wicket by Stefan.
Normally an end score of 237 is sufficient to win the game, but in cricket you never know. Aadvik and Miraj opened again. An early loss of Miraj’s wicket did not make it easier. But Tom and Aavik did build a good partnership. Half way we had 98 runs on the score board. This caused some stress at HCC’s side. This was not what was expected. After Aadvik was caught (25 runs), Stefan partnered with Tom. Great was the relief at HCC when Tom got caught in over 20 (36 runs). When Stefan shortly after made a miscalculation and got run-out (14 runs) it was clear we were not going the reach the target. Nevertheless with still 8 overs to go the team was dedicated to show the best they had. Ruchir (8 runs) was a hard nut to crack for HCC. It did quite a time before HCC managed to get him out. Arav (5 runs), and Philip (7 runs) made some good runs as well. In the last over it was up to Ger to keep his promise the bring the other half of 1(2) on the score board. With his first ball he was immediately successful. He ended not out with 3 runs (out of 4 balls). What would have happened if he would have entered the pitch earlier? Philip had finally a nice lift which ended just before the boundary. He was so sportive to got run-out so that Jonathan our master of the scoreboard could enter the field to play the final ball. With his family watching all pressure was on him to give the match a good ending. With a beautiful hit he managed to get the final run on the score board.
Although we couldn’t win this weekend the team can be very proud on their performance. They played two excellent games. Hopefully they can peak one more time next week against Quick.
Finally a big thank you to the parents of Miraj, Steve, Aadvik, Ruchir and Ger for taking up the tasks as scorers, umpires and serving a delicious lunch!!